If you ask me, I think it was the fussball table that was at the heart of Antonio Giovinazzi's problems this weekend.
Arriving in the hospitality area on Thursday, everyone was drawn like a moth to the flame by a brand new fussball table which just sat their provocatively, tempting anyone who came nearby to come over to stroke her, caress her, spin and shoot with her. Poor Antonio never had a chance.
"Do you want a game Antonio?" Pauline asked innocently, seeing the undisguised delight on his face at the new arrival in the paddock. "Sure!" he fired back, a little too keenly, and they were soon twiddling their knobs with an unadulterated joy that is rare in this paddock without a helmet on. But he moved too fast: little did he know that Pauline is a notorious fussball hustler in the mean streets of Paris, but it didn't take long for him to learn.
He begged anyone who walked by to come and play with him, but it was all in vain: the poor fellow was a dry husk of a man by the time his team dragged him back to the hotel to rest ahead of the next day's activities.
And Friday brought the sun, flat and wide and heavy, as we all returned to the Hockenheimring again. The swap deal with the Nurburgring seems a bit of a shame from the outside, as no one really gets settled with anything, and also because Hockenheim is frankly a nice place to come, and an interesting place to race.
Pierre Gasly was looking to extend his recent dominance, and in Free Practice he slapped down his rivals by setting the pace in the session, albeit that the tight, technical nature of the circuit meant that the time gaps were slight, with any mistakes penalised heavily.
After the session no one was surprised to see Antonio back on the fussball table with Sean Gelael as his partner, playing against Pierre and Antonio's trainer, and that the Italian was seemingly struggling compared to the others.
"Come on Antonio," I laughed as he missed a shot on goal, which rebounded to Sean at fullback before being cooly slotted back through every player ahead of him and into the goal, "are you going to do something, or are you just going to let Sean score all the goals?"
"That's right, he knows the score!" Sean laughed out loud, adding to his friend's shame. The pair swapped positions to allow Sean to take the lead, with Antonio greeting every touch of the ball by his partner with a "come on Balotelli" snark. Pierre didn't really care what positions they played in: he beat them twice, with two different partners: "Yeah, there you go!" he laughed at the end, using his hand as a beak in his teammate's face, and Antonio's shame was complete.
In the meantime we returned to write up the various pieces needed for releases and slowly drained Pauline's M&M dispenser, with the candies patriotically displayed in the colours of the German flag, before heading back out to the pitlane again, ominous looking clouds now hanging heavily overhead but the heat of the day undiminished by them.
Pierre led the way once again, and up and down the pitlane everyone had clearly assumed the Frenchman was going to be on pole once again, but they did so without considering Sergey Sirotkin.
The Russian has had a torrid season: after finishing in the top three in his debut season last year expectations were sky high, but results have been tough to find in a year that has been blighted by mistakes and pure bad luck. Sergey looks tough from the outside, but he is an emotional bloke who has been hit hard by the lack of results, which is why his strong Hungarian weekend was just the fill up he needed to put everything back on track.
His fast lap came with just 4 minutes remaining, when Pierre and most of the others were back in the pits: Sergey's first flying lap on his second set of tyres was aborted due to traffic, and a cool down allowed him to hit his straps as the track was clearing. The sector times next to his name weren't purple, so he wasn't setting the fastest times, but they were green, so they were his best sector times, at least.
And, unusually, 3 green sectors added up to pole: a smooth total lap beat 2 purple sectors and a slightly wayward middle sector.
Back in the paddock Sergey knew it meant his plan was working: he was coming back, and although Pierre joked about it in the press conference, he knew a confident Sergey meant his job tomorrow was going to be harder than ever.
But Antonio wasn't thinking about such things: he was already back at the fussball table, looking for more competition. Along with one of his mechanics he played game after game this evening against PREMA Racing's Head of communications Angelina Ertsou and their F4 driver Mick Schumacher, son of the former GP2 test driver: the fight between the two drivers was fierce but the Italian slowly but surely came out on top, using his experience to find the results he was lacking as the weekend got under way, his smile getting wider as the sun dropped behind turn one just outside.
And even the bad news of his disqualification for a technical infringement didn't dent his newly found good mood. Which means we're going to have to keep the table, and use it as a compulsory part of the penalty process going forward.
So if you don't mind I'll stop here: I'm just off to the stewards to let them know the new rules.